Spending a weekend in Cincinnati opened the eyes of students who participated in CJ’s annual Urban Plunge excursion. The weekend focuses on homelessness and those in poverty.
“Throughout the retreat, we heard multiple stories from elders who work with people experiencing poverty,” said Maya Reynolds ‘21. “A recurring message that they wanted to get across was that my generation can be the generation of change. I found myself wondering, how can we take on such a big responsibility? After much contemplation, the conversations we had during reflection answered that question for me. If we first work to improve ourselves to reflect the person of Jesus, big changes will spiral from there. The retreat allowed me to gain this new perspective, while being immersed in the spirit of Over the Rhine. It is truly a weekend I will never forget.”
Others who attended the experience shared memorable moments from the weekend.
“The most memorable part of my experience were the home visits,” said Lia-Sophie Keller ‘20. “We visited people who had nothing. No food, no furniture and most times not even a family. They had so little but still had so much passion. You could really see that they wanted to turn their life around. It made me realize that I am so lucky and inspired me to, like them, keep hope.”
Hillary Vaughn ‘20 agreed, “The most memorable part of Urban Plunge was visiting the homes of people in poverty and being able to talk about and understand their situation. The people we met on the home visits remained so positive, even though they were in unfortunate situations.”
During the experience, students also learned more about what poverty is and how they can make a difference.
“I learned that there are many different forms of poverty,” said Lyndsey Carter ‘20. “There is emotional, physical, mental, social, and many other forms of poverty.”
““One of my biggest realizations was that education is the first step to fighting the social justice issues in our world,” shared Elizabeth Murray ‘20, who attended a similar experience, called Rooted in the Vine, over the summer. “People can not fight against something they do not know is happening. I got to watch as my peers learned and experienced things that I had previously learned and began to share my passion for putting an end to injustices. They are now passionate about making changes in their own ways after learning about some of the issues faced by others. Think about the changes we could make if everyone was getting educated.”
Those who attended the weekend retreat said it was an experience that will last with them for a lifetime.
“Urban Plunge was an amazing experience to open my eyes to the complexity of the problem for those experiencing poverty,” said Anneliese Fisher ‘19. “We must not just serve, but serve with compassion and love.”
Chaperone Elaine Bonner shared, “The Urban Plunge retreat further opened my eyes to the plight of those experiencing poverty with practical steps all of us can take to make a difference. Brother Dr. Bob Donovan shared with our group that, ‘If you want to get closer to God, listen to the stories of people in poverty.’ As the medical director for the Center for Respite care, Brother Bob story really touched my heart.”
“Being called by God down to this trip has been one of the best things I've done, in a long time,” reflected Mia Andrews-Pope ‘21. “Going out into the community of down in the West Side of Cincinnati, opened my eyes even more to see poverty, and what else other people are going through.”
Posted March 13, 2019